St. Bernard

Ready for our choices? For governor, Jindal...For Lt. Governor....Holloway....Sec. of State...McKeithen....Atty. Gen...Terrell...Comm. of Agriculture/Forestry...No Odom!....Insurance Commissioner....Kyle....Senator..Boasso....Sheriff....Landry....Parish President...Wolfe or Rodriguez....Councilman B...No Ponstein..(Remember the mosquito contract and the recent secret contracts?)...Councilman at Large - Eastern...Dean....State Representatives...Breaud and Bayham....Councilman District E - Melerine.....Councilman C...Henderson...Councilman D...Garofalo or Terminie....Councilman District A....Madary or Seghers...Did I leave any race out?...

Did you know that former councilman, Craig Taffaro is the treatment director for the drug court's behavior modification program? Or, that Sal Cusimano, a big supporter of the current sheriff, is an indigent defender attorney? Guess it pays to be a member of the right political machine.

Replace the school board! Except for DiFatta! Remember they all wanted to use public money to fight reapportionment that would eliminate some of their positions and control. DISAPPOINTED!

Vote NO to the five mill tax. This issue needs rewriting. REJECTED

Vote to raise the grass cutting fee. We are not in the business of cutting grass. This fee should discourage people from letting their grass grow too high. PASSED Your choice to the tourism proposition. The question remains as to whether people really come from neighboring states just to see our tourism sites. REJECTED

Parish President

Charles Ponstein: Re-elected without opposition. Has responded to EVERY email sent to him. And, he does take action on problems. Very easy to talk with....

3/15/00 - Several water board workers have, or are going, in front of federal judges for violating the the Safe and Clean Water federal law. Ultimately, the parish president is responsible for the situation.
722/00 - Parish President Charles Ponstein began collecting a $25,000-a-year retroactive raise last month, possibly without merit. Apparently, the incumbent is not supposed to get it. But, he decided he's not the incumbent. Hmmm.

7/27/00 - Ponstein is apologizing to the council for raising his pay without the members knowledge, but he won't give the money back OR ask the council to amend the particular council action. He's just gonna put the money in escrow until after a state ruling. The ruling seems clear - he's not supposed to collect; only the next president.

8/3/00 - The controversy continues...Ponstein is continuing to receive his $25,000 raise, even after acknowledging that he was going to put the funds into an escrow account. He's not answering the phone. He has already gotten one lump sum payment of $10,000. The council chairman is awed. He wants Ponstein to wait until the attorney general says it's okay. Such a risk for a politician who has a very bright future in politics is amazing. Does he need the money for gambling debts? He has a very profitable store, you know.

8/5/00 - Amy Blakely criticized Parish President Charles Ponstein for "hiding something" in choosing to give himself a raise without notifying the council or the electorate. Ponstein's criticisms keep on mounting. Too bad. He had such a promising career ahead of him. Can we keep, or promote, someone who cannot be trusted? I say no

8/10/00 - The St. Bernard Parish Council is asking the state attorney general's office to make a determination on Ponstein's mysterious raise. It seems the Home Rule Charter is at question here. The charter forbids him ANYONE from collecting a raise while in their current term. Decrease too. He's the current president. It looks illegal to me.

11/17/00 - The state Attorney General has stated that Parish President Charles Ponstein's self-imposed raise is legal. This despite the fact that one of the writers of the Home Rule Charter said this interpretation is wrong. Interesting? According to what the charter says, the raise is illegal. It does not provide a raise for a public official during the same term the raise is approved. Is this one politician taking care of another? Ponstein will has to explain this to us. Until he does he's censored by this site.

6/28/01 - Mosquito Control pledges tough fight but says recent rains are making the job tough. It blames tropical storm Allison for the problems. Ah, I dunno 'bout this...

6/28/01 - Parish President Ponstein is leading a delegation in West Palm Beach to look over their traffic situations there. Must be nice. 

7/14/01 - Ponstein's decision to privatize mosquito abatement is still coming under fire. Seems he hired the firm after hiring them to do some work on his grocery store site. No vote of the council. No vote from the people. And, questionable service. Stay tuned... D.A. says council needs to put a stamp of approval on the contract.

8/8/03 - Ponstein's in the news today. This time he supposedly "secretly signed" a trash disposal contract. Votes himself a raise. The mosquito contract. And, now secret decisions!!


St. Bernard voters:
We support Nita Hutter....Lynette DiFatta.....yes to the Civic Center increase....No to the motor vehicle increase....911 fee, Nope..... water and sewer user fee increase, No.....animal control increase, tossup..... but NO to the motor vehicle increase....
NO, because no one has shown there will be increased personnel to serve us and if they're no additional public servants - then how can waiting time decrease?

Vote NO!! 

11/22/00 - Former Parish President Lynn Dean wrote in his SBN column of today that to save money he used to order lights out while President. He even turned them off as he strolled around the offices. He even shut down the powerful spot lights in the rear of Police Juror friends and cronies after LP&L refused to identify the owners. How dare LP&L do this!! It seemed Dean asked who had the lights and LP&L refused to identify them at first. He wrote that he told the utility monopoly that the parish government would no longer be paying for the mysterious lights. He then got a list of these strange lights and learned where they were and who had them. Ka-plonk!! Good for him...are there any other officials out there like Dean? Nope.... Is this why the old-time politicians dislike him and his, "so-called" eccentric ways?


Sheriff

The incumbent sheriff, Jack Stephens, was re-elected without opposition. Very powerful politically. And, no real problems to report. Two or three murders a year are hard to reduce. Crime is down as in other places. Traffic enforcement is okay. Felonies are being investigated. A new jail warden transferred- did we need one? All the former New Orleans on board have helped improve the department - a smart move in hiring them .

Years ago, I think, the sheriff got together with others to buy land around the now defunct Circus Circus casino boat planned for the Paris Road area. Unlicensed pilots were used for something. But, no boat. And, they still own the land.

Alan Abadie has quit challenging Stephens in elections. Once he got appointed to a high office - which, apparently, is keeping him quiet. Good? Bad? Legal? Apparently legal and causing no problems. The sheriff is apparently making modifications as needed, OR wanted. There are now substations in strategic locations. The drug investigations are continuing. The sheriff's office is constantly working with the N.O.P.D. Sgt. Schultz is registering more bicycles. Thus, no real problems. But, we'll keep watching.

Congratulations, Sheriff Stephens.

5/8/01 - Sheriff Stephens is saying he is definitely running for a sixth term in 2003. The sheriff's campaign manager is reportedly John Lane, his ex-director of administration who unexpectedly retired recently. Stephens who succeeded in getting a property tax increase to raise deputy salaries and who subsequently laid off workers after the ratification, is the longest serving sheriff in the parish's history.

7/27/00 - Sheriff Stephens is recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous colon tumor. We wish him well.

2/19/03 - Former Justice of the Peace Larry Landy has accused Sheriff Jack Stephens of harassing him and his family after recently announcing his intention of challenging Stephens in the upcoming election. Landry, who has been caught up in his own problems as a JP, has stated that sheriff's deputies arrested his son and beat him up unnessarily. Stay tuned.

2/20/03 - The sheriff is in hot water over his agency allowing a trustee to work outside of jail. It seems Greg Laffavillere was allowed to cut grass, give out sandbags and work Operation Merry Christmas after his status as a trustee had been revoked. Durng one of his times outside, it is alleged that he raped a little girl. Meanwhile, the girl's mother has stated that she had been trying to tell authorities that Laffavillere had been observed working outside in the past. How this was done is beyond belief. Meanwhile, citizens of St. Bernard can expect to pay a hefty judgment due to the sheriff's negligence should all this be true. All this comes amid allegations that he is padding Arlene Meraux's fondation with his cronies, friends and relatives.

2/26/03 - The controversy continues...Something smells fishy with the sheriff's involvement with the Arlene Meraux Foundation. Seems his cousin, Anthony Fernandez, has been appointed to the board. Along with Fernandez, the sheriff's attorney, friend, and others aligned with his office have been stacking the board. All this is being okayed in Judge Cresap's court - who was on the payroll of the sheriff at one time. Hmmm.

District Attorney

District Attorney "Jack" Rowley, the former St. Bernard Sheriff, seems too powerful to run against. He's entrenched in this position.

1/29/02 - What's the deal here, Jack? We arrange plea bargains that gives a man eight years for shooting another in the head? And, the victim remains blind? Plus, charges against five others were dropped! And, the victim agreed to the deal freely? Oh, and a second person was shot. Prosecutor Glenn Diaz handled the case.

4/24/02 - Seems like the plea bargainers are out in full force again. Nathan Kreeger, who pled guilty to being an accessory to murder in the death of Antonio Vertudazo, has been freed after serving the eighteen months he received. In my book he's a murderer. How 'bout yours? And, now he's free.

Council

At-Large West: Incumbent Clay Cosse collected 62% of the vote, beating George Cavignac's 38%. Clay's in mass at Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Chalmette a lot, and seems to be clean. But, he doesn't answer email- if you need him call or track him down to talk issues. Thirty-eight percent for Cavignac sends a message that voters are not that satisfied with Cosse's performance.

At-Large East: This was a close race. Craig Taffaro will meet Henry Junior" Rodriguez in the
runoff. Taffaro - 37%....Rodriguez - 36% No information on other candidates. Neither one
answers email, but Junior WILL do help you when you need it. He is a little crude at the council
meetings.

The Times-Picayune reports that the colorful Councilman from St. Bernard District E, who's running for Council-at-Large, was run off from the St. Bernard Council (11/8/99) while campaigning for the election wearing a shirt with a campaign logo. "Junior" Rodriguez subsequently took off his shirt revealing a Santa Claus profile. Rodriquez's response was that he didn't know absentee voting was going on.

Junior still has no sign on my lawn as requested. I requested one last week. Never heard of a politician who won't put up a lawn sign when requested by a supporter. But....?

Fundraising between Taffaro and Junior Rodriguez look similar, except that Taffaro has a lot more names listed. Amigo Ice Inc. gave $200 to Junior...is this business owned by the Three Amigos? Taffaro got money from: Terry Tedesco $500), Lena Torres ($200), Lou Tortorich (former owner of Ernst Cafe) $200, and Gallodoro Insurance Agencies ($100).

District A: Curtis Pitre wins again with 52% of the vote. First primary victory. Second place
doesn't count) went to Emmett G. Dupas III with 25% and Colleen Oltmann-Faith with 23%. The
twenty percents look high, right? Well, remember it's a local race.

District C: Joey Difatta won without challengers. Too bad!

District D: Ex-N.O.P.D. and now insurance writer, Joseph Gallodoro collected 40% to Rockey Vaccarella's 16%. Unfortunately, during the race Rockey's son got arrested. Maybe this had something to do with his lower totals. No incumbent in this race.

Rockey looks and sounds like one of us. His ad in today's Times-Picayune, 11/14/99, appealed to the body politic. He appears to be a hardworking individual who wants to get elected to public office. He may continue to align himself with the common folk if elected, or he may join the ranks of the chosen who cons himself into shady deals and millions when he leaves office. You know this politician. He gets into office borrowing money to win. Promising perks to others to get elected. And, collecting thousands by helping to award contracts to illegal bidders, etc. when he wins the office. Later, at term's end, he's the won who says he tried his best all four years- only this time he doesn't have to borrow money to run. Rockey doesn't look the type. I could be wrong, but first he has to pull an upset to win.

St. Bernard News, 11/17/99, Mrs. Taffaro writes that her husband is, "a man whose Christian values govern his sense of right and wrong, call him to high standards, and afford him the ability to lead in a fair and compassionate manner". Christian, sense of right and wrong, high standards, fair and compassionate? Is this what all this means when you look at the pictures on page nine of section two? I don't think so, Mrs. Taffaro. Unless I'm wrong on the definitions, this is NOT what you're talking about. And, as far as the rest of the article says- I say it's mudslinging. Go back to the issues, Craig. What do you stand for?

Lawn signs everywhere. Whether it's for the local council race, or the various state races. Judgeships, etc.? Everyone has a sign stuck in their lawn. But, for what reason? Are they put there because the homeowner/home renter likes the candidate's issues? Or, is it because his maw-maw works for him? Or, because he's my neighbor's cousin? Seems like most of them are there for the wrong reason. Seasoned citizens may be voting for someone who wants to reduce Social Security benefits, instead of their neighbor's nice cousin. So, how about putting them up because they like the candidate's views or issues he/she stands for?

District E: Tony R. "Ricky" Melerine beat Melvin Guerra (22%) and Kevin Williams (20%).
Melerine collected 2,228 votes, or 58%.

8/3/00 - The council is thinking about asking the voter to fund a Dept. Motor Vehicles office consolidation by paying two bucks a visit extra. Hmmm? This, after the parish president sneaks a substantial pay raise past the eyes and ears of the council members. And, doing nothing about it!! Hmmm? Let's see...$25,000 minus $2.00...good deal. Seems like the council should switch attention on the legality issue of the pay raise and leave the electorate alone. Besides the DMV operates these offices through the appropriate state agency.


8/21/00 - Joey DiFatta, Republican councilman, was given the Legislator of the Year award by the Alliance for Good Government

11/30/00 - Councilmen Joey DiFatta, Clay Cosse, Joseph Galladoro agreed with the attorney general. Let's see if they run again and seek Ponstein's support. Junior Rodriguez says not now. The supporters need to know that Charter Commission Chairman Stephen Estopinal thinks Mr. Ieyoub should take an English course. But, remember Ieyoub has just been convicted himself.

12/1/00 - The St. Bernard Fest's producers have appealed to the Parish Council to have their rent reduced due to the heavy rains it endured. The Krewe of Aphrodite and the Jubilees have asked the Council to cut their rent fifty percent. Perhaps this is a good idea, since the organizations spend a lot of time and money entertaining the citizenry, but if any council member is associated in any way with either of them, he/she should recuse himself/herself from the voting.

1/5/01 - Four candidates have entered the race to take Nita Hutter's Council Seat. They are: Mike Bayham, a political consultant, Rosemay Gioia, a high school counselor, Judy Darby Hoffmeister, St. Bernard Chapter Red Cross president, and Raymond J. Spicuzza a retired Navy officer and Navy Systems Engineer manager. Remember the winner cannot run in the real election....but with the recent Ponstein decision--who knows.

1/23/01 - They're at it again. What's with these guys? Sen. Lynn Dean wants to give something else away and they're giving him a hard time. Let him give me something...I'll appreciate it. This time Dean paid someone thousands of dollars to tear down a 10- unit apartment complex just to give it to the parish. The council told him they wouldn't accept it unless it was cleared first. Before it was down drugs and prostitution was common. Dean wants to leave the concrete slab for a volleyball or tennis court while the parish wants him to remove the concrete for a playground. Picky, huh? Dean even said he would build a small building for the Sheriff to use - but the sheriff said no. Like all the others, they dislike Dean intensely. Dean can do nothing right in their eyes. AND, THEY WORK FOR US! Are they forgetting Dean's giving the land to the people? Well, it's letter writing time. Email time... The nerve of them!!

8/21/00 - Joey DiFatta, Republican councilman, was given the Legislator of the Year award by the Alliance for Good Government.

7/17/01 - Vice Chairman Junior Rodriguez has done what few, if any, elected officials in St. Bernard have done. He has asked for $6,453.23 in reimbursement for travel and meal expenses. Seems he found some legal provision for the justification. He's the only council member to do this. He just lowered the total to $3,600 even. Isn't that amazing! An even thirty-six hundred! Cosse and Pitre dissented.

7/17/01 - Newly elected Councilman Mike Bayham asked for a new computer...and the council said yes. Seems reasonable, huh? Pitre was the lone dissenter.

10/23/01 - Councilman Mike Bayham is blasting fellow Republican State Senator Lynn Dean for having to pay $1.3M in a tax judgment to the parish. Bayham, who is a leader in the local Republican Party, is showing no leadership here. Does he know what Senator Dean's real intentions were when Dean paid the taxes to another parish? Was it just an error? Bayham ought to keep his big mouth closed and accept the check he was given. Spend it wisely Mike--don't preoccupy yourself with blasting another Republican who might have just made a judgment error.

11/13/01 - Councilman Bayham wanted the council meetings to open up with the Star Spangled Banner and the rest of the council pretty-much agreed. Junior said he can't even sing in a bucket. All this because sporting events start out with the National Anthem. Bet this won't last long. Mike, why didn't you just suggest the Pledge of Allegiance? Council meetings are not supposed to be sporting events. Yeah, I know, Junior has performed his own sporting events during past meetings, but meetings are supposed to be businesslike, right?

12/05/01 - Councilman Joey DiFatta has asked for a two-week waiting period before St. Mark's is allowed to rebuild a critical building and to erect a new building. This is despite the fact that years ago parish officials steamlined the process. The permits could have been approved this past Tuesday. Now, why he did this is beyond me. Sure Fr. Lomax said a delay is okay, but what else would he say? DiFatta said the project's already on a fast track schedule. He said he didn't see any problem with the project at all, so why did he stall the permit approval? Meanwhile, personnel at the school must be inconvenienced by bringing in meals from Prompt Succor's cafeteria. Why prolong this process, Joey? No special zoning permits are needed. The money is there for the work. Stupid move, Joey.

12/17/01 - The Alliance for Good Government named Junior Rodriguez as a "legislator of the year" winner. Hmmm. Did he win because he's stop cursing at council meetings? Other winners are: Rep. Edwin Murray of New Orleans, Steve Scalise of Jefferson, and Michael Strain of St. Tammany. These three are state representatives.

4/6/02 - Last week, the council voted 4-3 to let State Senator Lynn Dean to put up his basketball court in Village Square only to see Parish President Ponstein veto the vote. Now we really don't know whether the residents there really want a basketball goal and playing area built, but the council vote should be allowed to stand. We're sure they took the insurance issue under consideration in approving the measure. Apparently some St. Bernard officials continue to let their dislike for Dean get in the way of dean GIVING things to the people. If, in fact, the people living in the area do want the basketball opportunities there, then some of these officials will have to answer when election time comes up. This web site is read by more voters than they think. Some officials are regular visitors here. Wake up, guys! If someone wants to give the people things, you better have a legitimiate reason to fight the charitable causes of others who have don't agree with your performance. People everywhere want donations - St. Bernardians are no exception. Remember the trouble some of you caused over the $250,000 gift for the swimming pool?

4/23/02 - While watching the rerun of the last council meeting it struck this webmaster that Mr. Bayham's question to Sen. Dean was out of the ball park. Mr. Bayham asked Senator Dean what time the Senate adjourned today. Dean stated that he left early and didn't really know. Now the question at vote was the possible overriding of Parish President Ponstein's veto to okay Dean's $100,000 gift to the people of Village Square. Is asking Mr. Dean what time the Senate quit working today relevant to the issue at hand? I don't think so! What purpose can any answer make to the relevancy of the issue at hand? Mr. Dean did not stop to have a drink. Mr. Dean did not stop to see his girl friend. Mr. Dean just stopped to convince a governing body to support his issue. His gift to the people. Mr. Dean did what any honorable man would do and attend a council meeting pushing for his initiative to give the people of St. Bernard a $100,000 gift. Now, as a taxpaying member of the community I would ask Mr. Bayham what basis he had for that irrelevant question. Is it to attack Mr. Dean's credibility? Is it to use in a newspaper ad attacking Mr. Dean's sincerity? Or, what? Now, let me state that I am not nessarily in favor of the basketball court, especially if the residents do not want it. But, here's a man willing to give $100,000 to conduct an experiment to find out it his idea works and we deny him the opportunity to give us, the taxpayers, one hundred thousand dollars because of revengeful politics. And, this is not the first time! There's still controversy over the $250,000 swimming pool! I now call upon the Parish Council to stop playing politics and assist Mr. Dean with any future endeavor. I also call upon them as government leaders to give Mr. Dean a monetary donation in support of any future generosity. I'm sure Mr. Dean will even accept a dollar or two.

5/9/02 - Well, it looks like we're in the grass cutting business. Whether we should be, or not, looks like we are. Council Bayham tried to put a measure on the ballot to increase the fees to cut an awfully high lawn but the other council members voted him down. Think I'll measure my lawn. I know the parish has insurance in case anything goes wrong. If the council members won't raise the rates, maybe I'll take advantage of the service. A lot of other places have rates that discourage their municipalities from cutting grass, but not St. Bernard - the issue's too hot. A cut here... a cut there... a vote here... a vote there... a contribution here... get the picture?

6/15/02 - Councilman Bayham's idea that the U.S. Customs House in New Orleans be named for PGT Beauregard seems dead now. The idea was an uphill battle, indeed. In the days when N.O. is renaming schools to rid them of names of former slaveholders, naming a building there for a son of St. Bernard who led armies in the Confederacy was ridiculous at best. While we applaud Bayham for choosing to fight an uphill battle, I wonder if this is all he and is colleagues have to do. Finding someone to sing the national anthem at meetings takes valuable time out of important parish business. Repeated bashing of someone who continues to donate thousands to the parish also takes time. And, of course, asking for someone's name, who is perceived to be a racist, to appear on a building. Hmmm?

6/20/02 - Did the last message work? The council is indeed taking up new and important business. But, in the wrong way, perhaps? Seems they have refused to put a measure on a ballot to raise fireman's pay. Hmmm. Seems like this is the only way they can get a raise. Hmmm. Didn't Ponstein sneak a raise in the recent past? One that he felt he deserved? Why can't the firemen get their voice heard? Do they need a raise? We take no side on this issue, but we do feel the public ought to decide. And, we feel that we owe it to public servants to encourage them to bring issues up before the public. If the public wants a raise, then they should get it. The council, and all elected officials, owe it to those who risk their lives to assist them in bettering their conditions. The pubic votes it down? Oh, well...

6/28/02 - Well the last remaining council member has dropped his bid to have the parish pay his expenses to the Canary Islands in the fall. Seems the parish leaders are going to shake hands with the Islanders and they want to have you-and-I pay for their vacation. Being that the business advantages for the parish can be nothing but minimal, and that our leaders will surely conduct only a little amount of business there, this is the right thing to do. But, why all the fuss? Shouldn't council members have publicly stated, all along, that they will pay their own way? If their idea is to drum up tourism numbers, how many Islanders plan to visit St. Bernard in the future? Sisters, aw come on guys?

7/11/02 - The Canary Islands trip is still making the news. It seems now that Councilman DiFatta still wants the council to authorize the payment for Ken Winters' airfare. This is ridiculous. Why anyone believes that this trip is anything but a chance to have fun is beyond me. Some council persons believe otherwise. We'll see, but I bet I'm right. What kind of benefit can we expect to see from this red herring? Mr. DiFatta, it's hurricane season. If a hurricane comes too close to our shores, can we expect a totally flood free scenario in St. Bernard? If not, forget the trip and work on real problems.

7/19/02 - In days where new cases of West Nile Virus are popping up all around the area, parish leaders have agreed to spend $1,195 to pay for Ken Winters to film a meeting of officials in the Canary Islands. The vote was 6-1, with Bayham voting no. Remember, Bayham originally wanted reimbursement himself and has decided not to make the trip afterall. I am anxious to see what benefits for St. Bernard comes out of this trip. I do NOT believe it is worth the $1,195.

7/23/02 - After last year's attempt to get reimbursement for expenses Junior Rodriguez stormed out of last night's council meeting after an exchange with Councilman Clay Cosse. Rodriquez, who was granted a reimbursement the year before, cursed Cosse after Cosse stated that Junior's request was out of line. Of course, both Cosse and DiFatta stated that they would have asked Rodriguez to leave if he hadn't already done that.

8/24/02 - Well, it looks like Junior is trying to get even with the other council members who won't take him seriously about trying to get paid for driving around the parish to the tune of $300, or so a month. Seems like he wanted to have a council meeting way down in the boondocks just to prove a point. He subsequently, changed his mind. Perhaps a little birdie told him that this was a stupid idea. Hmmm.

3/13/03 - Is it because he's running for Parish President or is it because the problem's obvious? Anyway Junior is to be commended for pointing out to the public that they are renting wastewater equipment for way more than the purchase price. Is this a mistake? Or, is someone profiting from someone else's decision? If someone's making money illegally, shouldn't the authorities be looking into the problem?

7/19/03 - A columnist in an area newspaper took a bold stand today when she pointed out that the raises proposed by the Parish Council are ill-timed. Good point. Why are raises proposed when there is NO money to pay for the action? Why are they proposed in 2003? Election year...that's why. There is no money....None...and to push this through in an election year is self-serving. Self-serving for the politicians who are seeking re-election. Check the Times Picayune periodically to see who's running. Bet it's a lot of the council members. Junior is the only one with sense. He acknowledges that there is NO money.

8/7/03 - Councilman Bayham says, today, he is not running for re-election. This is a shame. Although he has put forth some of the silliest ideas while on the council, his devotion, honesty and independence will be missed. Continue to look for his name, though. He says he may run for something else in the future.

Clerk of Court

Lena Torres, who took over for her husband years ago, was not opposed. He was in office a long time, and no doubt, "Miss Lena" will too.

Assessor

The incumbent was re-elected with no opposition. No one has the money to run against a long-termer? Or, was everyone satisfied with their home assessment. Her husband was a long time incumbent, she like Lena, ran and won.

District Court Judges

Wayne Cresap

Gilbert Andry is running against Jacques Sanborn in the District E race. Sanborn is partners with Diana Dysart and Paul Tabary in a law firm. This race is a tossup as to who warrants the job.

Meanwhile, in an ad in the Times Picayune this date, (11/14/99), Gilbert Andry reports that he "is the best qualified" in this race. He writes that he's, "handled more than 10,000 cases". Interesting, right? 10,000! Really, how does he know this? He also writes that he's "practiced extensively before every court in the Louisiana judiciary". Every court? Come on Mr. Andry? Every court? Why 'OVER 10,000' when in the middle column he cites his appearance before the higher courts of Louisiana 253 times. Exact in one example....close in the other? I dunno...

In the Division E race, a Darleen Jacobs gave Gilbert Andry III $1,000, while a Darleen M. Jacobs-Levy gave Sanborn $2,500. Is this one person, hmmm. Likes Sanborn better. Wayne Mumphrey gave Sanborn $2,500. All lawyers! And, lots of other lawyers gave to Sanborn. Blue Williams, Frank G. DeSalvo, Manuel Fernandez, Jeffrey Perigoni, Adele P. Faust, Buckley and Hayes, Frank D. Ippolito, and other lawyers whose name got past me. Are they all trying to get future favorable decisions - in lieu of possible justice?

In the Division C race, Wayne Cresap is running against Greg Noto. Greg Noto

Cresap. Noto? I know both of these guys personally. They're both fine candidates. I know Wayne from a police brutality complaint I interviewed him with. I know Noto from my police officer days. I support Wayne. Probably, because I didn't like Noto, etc., asking him to quit. Was it about not wanting to spend the money, and about future support in a judgeship race?

Times-Picayune, 11/19/99, reports that Cresap got: $2,000 from a Darleen M. Jacobs (lawyer), $500 from John Finkbeiner, $400 from the law firm of Newman, Mathis, Brady, Wakefield, & Spedale, $250 from the law firm of Adele P. Faust, and $200 Anthony L. Glorioso. Meanwhile, Noto got: $4,500 from the Murray Law Firm, $2,500 from the law firm of James Brodtmann, $2,500 from Glenn Diaz$2,500 from the Discon Law Firm, $1,000 from the law firm of Bruno and Bruno, $1,000 from Wendall Gauthier...... and many more attorneys. Need I say more?

12/30/99 - Jacques Sanborn beat Gilbert Andry: 11,038 to 9,031. Both good men. One had to lose. Wayne Cresap beat "Greg" Noto 11,043 to 9,473. Both good men, again. One had to lose here, too. With this election, St. Bernard parish can boast that it has some of the finest judges around. Hopefully, these guys (like the other judges) will not let campaign contributions interfere with the kind of judicial watch the public wants. I'll be watching....

5/5/01 - Sharon Williams narrowly lost the Judgeship race to Manny Fernandez, 51-49%. A lot of mud was slung here. Fernandez was accused of ties with the Marcello family. DWI's and a fistic encounter in public. Williams was supported by Sen. Lynn Dean. Lawyer Sal Cusimano supported Fernandez and attempted to provoke a fistic encounter with this webmaster at the Tomato Festival on Saturday this year. If successful, would Cusimano order the appropriate constable pick me up to explain his bloody nose? And, what would be my fate if I appeared before HIS candidate? I would imagine he's on the list of contributors. The argument in question? Well, if a whole bunch of lawyers are supporting one candidate shouldn't the first question posed is WHY? Cusimano's argument with me was...you don't know what you're talking about! Fernandez is the best qualified because he's the best lawyer! I told him baloney and he went bonkers! Could it be that if Williams was elected, he and his old guard cronies would have to really work in a courtroom once in a while instead of arranging plea bargains? Tell me, Mr. Cusimano, is a judicial contest impartially decided when a long list of attorneys contribute to a successful judicial candidate? Is an arrangement totally fair when it's made in a judge's chambers with just one side of the match represented on this list of contributors? Mr. Cusimano, law degrees do not provide a barrister with angelic wings. Nor, will it guaranty that a street is named after him. Or even, a just comparison with some of the greatest trial lawyers man has ever known. Ever heard of Oliver Wendell Holmes?

5/8/01 - In other race, Council District B's seat, Mike Bayham beat George Cavignac by 180 votes. Bayham is 26 years old. His opponent basically attacked his youth during the campaign. No family, no business experience and no stability. Cavignac is a former Green Beret.

5/8/01 - Fernandez's victory showed a difference of 158 votes. This after an extensive campaign from sheriff's deputies placing ads in the community newspaper. Is this the closest judge's election in St. Bernard Parish? The final tally was 6,142 to 5,984. Only 28 % of voters cast their ballots. Fernandez will complete David Gorbaty's term. Gorbaty was elected to the appeals court last year.

6/28/01 - Wayne Cresap became the second judge to recuse himself from a case involving the murder of an 87- year- old Chalmette woman. Manny Fernandez and Kirk Vaughn were the first two.

Justice of the Peace

10/19/00 - Ward I Justice of the Peace Guy McInnis will pay $1,474 to an investigating agency that looked into whether he worked as an accountant for the St. Bernard Sheriff's Office while serving in his position. Apparently, McInnis worked for the Sheriff's Office while running for his elective position which was in conflict with the independence and impartiality of judges as established by the Code of Judicial Conduct. Somehow, I believe he knew about this but dismissed it as something unimportant. I don't believe he believed it when he was reported to have said, "that receiving pay from a law enforcement agency while serving as a justice of the peace would be a conflict of interest." His employment with the sheriff's office continued after he resigned to run for elective office. Hmmm, makes you wonder why he resigned in the first place. Smells, doesn't it. T/P article from this date

9/28/01 - Ward G Justice Nick Lacoste, Jr. has been appointed to fill the Ward F vacancy after Robert April, Sr. passed away recently. Lacoste will do double-duty. April had been  a jp since 1977. He will be missed by many, including those of us who were married in his home.

School Board

1/15/00 - Bonnie Patton, a probation officer for the 34th Judicial District was appointed to the board and will serve until October 7. Bill Egan, a lawyer, says it's okay if she cuts her hours to part-time status.

6/27/00 - The school board still continues its dislike of Sen. Lynn Dean. A few years ago Dean GAVE a $250,000 heated indoor pool. He got little, or no, help from the president, council, school board or anyone else. The state threw regulations at him. The board issued him building restrictions. The Red Cross, which uses it extensively, offered no assistance. But, Dean knew the public wanted it. They appreciated the effort and generosity. They appreciated the gift. As of this date, two years after its completion, the St. Bernard Parish School Board still hasn't accepted ownership. Unbelievable! Upon acceptance, the Board's supposed to maintain the facility. A $250,,000 gift remains in limbo. In fact, one Board member voted NOT to accept the pool. Bill Egan was the loner who didn't want Dean's gift. He wants Dean to fix some minor problems, but never asked to assist Dean. He hates to see what it'll be like in ten years. He thinks it was poorly designed. He wants more ventilation. He wants non-slippery surfaces. He wants... He wants... He wants... Meanwhile the Board is adding ventilation fixes which Dean has agreed to reimburse it later. Superintendent Auderer doesn't seem overly concerned. But, Egan told him he'd better get the promise of reimbursement in writing. Who elected Egan anyway? Time for him to go!

8/19/00 - Bonnie Patton, who was appointed to the 3rd District Seat when Jacques Sanborn won a judgeship seat, picked up two challengers: Lynette DiFatta and Sherry King. DiFatta is the sister-in-law of Parish Councilman Joey DiFatta.

10/8/00 - In the school board election to fill the 3rd District Seat, Bonnie Patton and Lynette DiFatta will meet in a runoff the day the President's race is decided.

10/30/00 - The Times Picayune came out today in support of Bonnie Patton for the District 3 seat. Patton has held the seat since January and was a juvenile probation officer.

11/8/00 - Lynette DiFatta, supported by Politics: Louisiana Style, won outright 52% to 48. Sister-in-law to Joey DiFatta, councilman, beat the establishment pick for the seat. Not bad! So what if Patton is a juvenile probation officer. All four initiatives failed. Way to go, voters!!

11/17/00 - The school board will name a new school for a black principal after no opposition showed up for the most recent board meeting. The matter will be placed on the agenda, November 28.

1/24/01 - Max Shaneyfelt looks like he wants to interpret the law on how many terms someone can serve as president of the school board. Hmmm. It's really a clear rule. No more than two terms as president - not just on the board in other positions... Max looked like he was just jumping at straws. Come on Max, it's not that complicated. The last three words in the sentence are, 'for each office'. Again Max, it's really simple. Oh, didn't I read in the local newspaper that he hadn't decided to run for the position the day before? Why all the fuss?

6/28/01 - The school board will review Rep. Ken Odinet's petition to reduce the number of board members. It has 30 days to look over the information. 

9/13/01 - Apparently school board member, Max Shaneyfelt slapped board President Ron Nicosia after the meeting of 9/11. They differed on an issue to let a student whose parish residency had been questioned to re-enroll in public school.  The Superintendent broke up the altercation. Did Nicosia really make an obscene gesture towards Max? Shaneyfelt reportedly said he's willing to apologize if Nicosia apologizes also. Max also said he's willing to resign if Nicosia does. Hmmm...

10/23/01 - A public hearing on Ken Odinet's proposed balot measure to shrink the size of the St. Bernard School Board is on tap today. Hot issue that will surely bring out the citizenry.

11/15/01 - Ten members of the school board have filed a lawsuit challenging the shrinking of the board. Lynette DiFatta did NOT join the suit. Good for her! Suing members want the courts to declare the measure unconstitutional.

11/30/01 - This thing where the school board issue to downsize is going too far. No position as to whether it's right or wrong to downsize yet, but the school board members who are trying to get a lawyer for free to sue over the issue is ridiculous. Even the state says it's illegal to use free services from an attorney. Alvin Bordelon's services cannot be contracted for free. So says the Louisiana Board of Ethics. If the members are using school board money to protect their jobs, they should be made to pay when they lose the issue. And, make no mistake, this crybaby suit will fail. Why are they making their own decision to use public money without our permission? The school district picking up the tab for bull****? When kids will suffer the brunt of the funding loss? If this happens, we here will make every attempt to prevent all of them, except Lynette DiFatta, from winning re-election. DiFatta refuses to be a party to this mess. She'll wind up smelling like a rose. Good for her.

12/15/01 - The Louisiana School Boards Association has come out to support the School Board's fight to throw out Ken Odinet's bill to reduce the number of members. Well, what else would they say? Would Ford come out against FMCC's zero percent financing? Would the national steelworkers let the local here import steel? Creedence with this statement? Maybe? Maybe, not?

1/11/02 - In a meeting last night, several political officials debated whether or not it was good to shrink the size of the school board. Superintendent Frank Auderer, was one of them. Since he's in office at the whim of the board, guess what position he took.

1/19/02 - Vote for reduction! And,this is why... if for only to save money, it's a good deal. And, while we're at it - let's start thinking about replacing some of the crybabies and fighters...

1/20/02 - The reduction passed. Good job, voters!

3/21/03 - In a surprising bit of information, school board candidate Sandra Gorbaty has filed a lawsuit against the Irish-Italian parade organization for failure to provide her a stool to get on and off her float. Gorbaty claims she suffered a torn ligament in one of her knees at last year's parade. This webmaster has never been supplied with a stool to get on and off a float in the many years he has ridden in the Krewes of Amor and Endymion. While Ms. Gorbaty deserves sympathy if the injury is legitimate, she certainly deserves no special treatment when boarding, or exiting, a float she chooses to use to "satisfy her ego". Quote is paraphrased from a comment made by the current sheriff of Jefferson Parish when commenting on the parade fees he instituted.

3/31/03 - The local newspaper came out today in support of incumbents in the upcoming race. This is not the best path to take. It supports Egan and Dysart. No mention of the board's decision to use public money to fight reapportionment.

4/9/03 - The first black school board member was elected to the board Saturday. Stacy Riley, Sr. received 58% of the vote. Riley won in the newly created 9th District, created by a federal judge.

Other Issues and Ballot Measures

8/17/00 - Voters will be asked to pay more for several things in November. They will be asked to increase the rent of the Civic Center, increase St. Bernard Urban Rapid Transit bus fares, raise service fees for the animal shelter and community development operations, including building permits, and oil and gas permits. A public hearing to okay these measure will be held at 11 a.m. on September 5th. Eleven in the morning!! Bet I know several voters who can't make it?

Two other matters are also being proposed: one would be to implement a $3.20 per household charge so the parish can pay $75,000 to the state health department for services rendered. State law mandates users pay the fees. Have to! The St. Bernard charter says that the parish has to get voter approval - stay tuned. Interesting.

The other measure is unacceptable as proposed. It wants a $2 fee for the Office of Motor Vehicles to help pay for leasing a more spacious complex to house both of Chalmette's motor vehicle offices. The $90,000 to $100,000 fee would be collected from drivers and users. Now, let's take a look at this notion. They're proposing a $2 fee to consolidate offices. They claim it will be better for the users. Sen. Lynn Dean has echoed similar beliefs here. Both of us say phooey! If the long lines in two officers are not going to produce shorter waiting times in one new and pretty building, what good is all this. VOTERS SHOULD REJECT THIS SOUNDLY!!

Support the Civic Center increase, bus fare increases, animal service fees, and other fee and permit increases. Vote NO to the $3.20 household charge and let's watch what the state will do. It should be fun. But, say no to the new one motor vehicle office. NO!

12/22/00 - Is political cronyism back? Well, former Police Juror Randy Odinet has been appointed to the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District. Is it because his business is really flourishing, or is it a favor returned? Anyway, nice time to be connected politically. With the most recent raises and Ponstein's self-imposed raise it's a nice time to be a bigwig in St. Bernard. So, is cronyism flourishing here? Well? You be the judge. We've made our own decision. Odinet said his uncle, Rep. Kenneth Odinet recommended him for the job. Was the job advertised? Did it hit the media? Hmmm. He's replacing Michael Fradella who moved out of St. Bernard but who maintains a body shop here. The profits are nice but SB's not good enough for Fradella to live here. His overpriced body shop has just been improved. If Odinet really wants to be of service he'll pick up over-indulgers from Christmas parties and bring them home. Now that's public service!!

11/13/01 - The parish is retaining the firm of Wayne Mumphrey to represent the parish's interests in a suit filed as a result of problems caused by a month long fire way back in September 2000. Parish President Ponstein said the parish was advised to hire its own attorney because of the suit's magnitude. No name of the recommending authority was mentioned in the Times Picayune article of this date. Seeing that the fee for Mumphrey is no small amount and the fact that the parish has attorneys on retainer, one wonders whether this is a payoff. Just speculating... But, isn't his name on a lot of campaign contribution lists?

11/13/01 - Dr. Paul Verrette, who appeared in federal court, Oct. 31 to plead guilty to a felony charge that he signed diet-drug prescription forms with seeing any patients, has resigned his coroner's position - without a notarized signature. Dr. Bryan Bertucci, Verrette's opponent in the last coroner's election, takes over.

11/21/01 - Only one person applied for the job of director of Parks and Recreation, Charlie Reppel. Whether he's qualified or not, why was he the only one? Oh, he's not qualified according to the job description. He's not a college graduate. Why did we not put out another announcement? Or, was there a first one? Was there a 'forget it, Reppel's got it anyway' belief? An assistant director will now be sought? Hmmm...

11/21/01 - A special election for coroner will be held 4/6/01. Dr. Verette resigned admidst allegations that he prescribed diet drugs to people he never saw. His statement was that he thought it was legal to do it. Also on the ballot will be an election for Justice of the Peace in Ward F. Longtime judge, Robert April, passed away recently.

4/3/02 - A tax renewal is before voters 4/6/02 to renew a half-cent tax dedicated to law enforcement. Sounds like a good idea - it's only a renewal, anyway. Nothing's new. Go for it!

Seventy-four percent of voters renewed a ten-year, one-half-cent sales tax for law enforcement last Saturday. Turnout was light.

Note

8/23/02 - Sixteen incumbents have no opposition and have been reelected without opposition in their upcoming races. Too bad...we need legitimate competition... Judges Buckley, Cresap, Vaughan and Sanborn have no challengers. Could it be because they made a deal with possible challengers to leave them alone? Nothing illegal is suggested. Two new constables were elected in Wards C and I. In other matters: Troubled Ward E JP withdrew to let his wife run. Remember he had been suspended for improprieties. Judge Fernandez drew competition from both Sharon Williams and Mary Petrucelli. Good for them! Also, Billy Fernandez the Constable of Ward H saw no competition and that's also too bad. Billy's skeletons have never been locked away in a closet hidden away. Some have been really obvious. Stan Sirgo, incumbent JP in Ward C saw his daughter-in-law file to run against him. ?? Will he withdraw?

7/21/05 - The council is considering curtailing the building of party wall doubles. Good idea? Not for Councilman Mark Madary? Seems Mark and his eleven brothers and sisters have an interest in the issue to the tune of 11 lots he and his siblings own around Chalmette Medical Center.Should he be discussing these matters himself OR let his fellow councilmen and women do it? Are will they take care of him and exclude his property? Looks like a conflict of interest, doesn't it?

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